More than 1,000 musicians and spectators will gather at Dodger Stadium Saturday for the Ninth Annual North Central Marching Band Invitational Saturday evening.
A total of 13 marching bands from as far away as Des Moines will take the field in competition beginning at 4:30 p.m. and be ranked by performance in their class and for overall best awards in the drum major, woodwinds, brass, soloist, colorguard, drumline, marching and spirit categories.
"We've got 934 musicians registered," said Mike Richardson, director of bands at Fort Dodge Senior High. "That does not include the Senior High Band or the spectators. We're looking at over 1,500 people coming into Dodger Stadium and that is a pretty significant thing."
Bands will participate in 90-minute clinics with professional instructors in the morning and afternoon getting pointers and suggestions for improvement on their performances. Bands will then be able to take what they have learned and apply it to their evening competition performances.
Richardson said the clinic portion of the event is what makes the contest unique from others the bands may compete in later in the season.
"There are few contests in the Midwest that offer this type of festival that includes the clinic," he said. "It makes the event very educational for the students involved."
For many bands, including the FDSH Marching Band, the contest is the first of the season, and is a way to get a jump-start into state competition, which FDSH will host Oct. 6.
"Just like everyone else, we will go ahead and do a clinic and compete," said Richardson. "It isn't really our goal to win, but to see what our kids can learn and do to make the performance even better. The mission of the whole contest is to make everyone stronger; to get a good experience out of it. The clinic and competition give bands the opportunity to dig into their performance and identify places to improve upon before state competition."
Schools participating in the contest include area bands FDSH, Pocahontas Area/Pomeroy-Palmer, Manson Northwest Webster, Algona, and Greene County of Jefferson. Also participating are Applington-Parkersburg, West Marshall, Estherville Lincoln Central, Spencer, Adel-DeSoto-Minburn, Saydel, Waterloo East and Des Moines Lincoln.
The competition portion of the event is open to the public and admission is $5.